Think Progress // Tanya Somanader
In a wayward attempt to rebrand himself as a middle-class hero, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is running headlong into his history with Bain Capital. Not only does the firm have a history of making millions by buying up and gutting companies, but Romney also secured a plush retirement deal from Bain that brought him “millions of dollars in income each year.”
Of course, Romney has tried to spin his private sector role as that of a “job creator.” But a closer look at Bain’s modus operandi reveals that firm spent a lot of time laying off company employees rather than hiring them — all while turning a profit. More than 20 years ago, Bain — with Romney at the helm — opened a new plant in Gaffney, South Carolina with the promise of “highly anticipated manufacturing jobs,” only to shut down that plant four years later, laying off 150 workers while making millions:
More than two decades ago, Mitt Romney’s business venture came to town with a bounty of highly anticipated manufacturing jobs. The new plant, just past the gas station off Interstate 85, needed skilled workers to churn out thousands of photo albums.
Four years later, the Holson Burns Group Inc. – the company controlled by Romney’s Bain Capital LLC – closed the factory and laid off about 150 workers. Some jobs were sent north, where months later many of those were also eliminated. Other operations went overseas. [...]
For Bain, the plan was a financial success: Holson Burnes raised $24 million from its initial public offering on the over-the-counter trading market, with Bain executives retaining the majority of the company’s shares. Bain, in the end, reaped more than double the return on its initial investment. But workers were left jobless just as the local economy began to slump.
“In the real world, some things don’t make it,” Romney offered as an explanation for the layoffs he had overseen as Bain’s CEO. However, the plant in South Carolina is not an isolated incident. Under Romney, “four of the 10 companies Bain acquired declared bankruptcy within a few years, shedding thousands of jobs.” But documents show that “Bain investors profited in eight of the 10 deals, including three of the four that ended in bankruptcy.” Indeed, the firm pointedly made higher profits “by firing workers, seeking government subsidies, and flipping companies quickly for large profits.”
As Romney’s own business partner stated, “I never thought of what I do for a living as job creation.” It’ll be an interesting display of acrobatics to see how Romney explains to South Carolinians that the profit his company made off the backs of 150 laid off workers proves his bona fides as a job creator.